A number of bird nesting boxes and feeding stations hand-crafted by boys from Wilds Lodge School for the banks of Oakham Canal have been burnt down by vandals.
The boxes had been specially made by the pupils at Wilds Lodge School in Empingham, as part of a long running, combined effort with Oakham Angling Society to improve the site for wildlife.
Every Tuesday, the boys have been visiting the canal to help install both bird and bat boxes, that they’ve spent time crafting as part of their wood-work class at school.
But, two weeks ago the group was shocked to find many of the feeding stations had been burnt down or damaged.
Mark Short, secretary for Oakham Angling Society, said: “It is unbelievable that someone would destroy what the boys from Wilds Lodge have worked so hard to achieve.
“We are extremely grateful for all the effort put in, not just on the wildlife area, but also in weed clearance, platform repairs and so on. Without the school’s help, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”
Paul Rogers, one of the teaching assistants at Wilds Lodge School, has been working on the project with the boys since last summer and was devastated to hear the news.
He said: “We’re all very concerned at what has happened. The boys have been doing a lot of work at school for the project and eventually we want to put more bird boxes up, but we’re worried that they may also get burnt down or damaged.”
Wilds Lodge School is an independent specialist boarding and day provision for boys with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties aged between five and 18.
This particular project has proved therapeutic for the pupils.
Oakham Angling Society is now looking into installing CCTV at the canal to prevent any future damage being done.
Mark added: “It’s a shame to have to consider installing CCTV, but it’s something I feel has become necessary.”